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Dvd To Digital File Storage - Mac Expert Advice Required Please

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Anthony Parsons, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    I need advice from those mac experts that exist here in regards to DVD conversion to digital format.

    As we are progressively shifting entirely to a mac household, part of our shift is to convert all of our existing DVD's to digital storage. I never bothered that much with this before as my wife loves the kids movies, ie. Disney created one's, and the Disney protection has been the hardest to get past in order to convert over to digital storage. Lots of so called "experts" have weighted in on this subject over the years, boasting how great x product was, yet not one successfully converted Disney nor stably and consistently converted each DVD over, without having to near watch each one to check it for errors.

    Speaking with a movie guru today who has successfully converted over 4000+ DVD's to digital format, he told me that using DVDFab does successfully convert Disney encryption as well as consistently each other DVD. Another person who has used Macs his entire life only recommended a completely different product, being HandBrake with VLC. He then went on to say how it was all a quite complicated process to get right. Someone then mentioned to me DVD Cloner, as they now have mac specific software, but couldn't confirm if it will successfully do Disney movies.

    What I want....

    Clear knowledge and recommendations, backed with experience, for the MAC system, what software is the best to use to accomplish DVD burning to use with Apple TV and all Macs?

    Our finished setup will comprise all imacs & macbook pro's with time machine 2TB + extra time machine storage as needed, with each TV around the house using an Apple TV box for wireless connection to the time machine to stream media around the house so our entire library, music and movies can be played all through the house in each room we desire. I have zero idea exactly what format is required to use that is compatible with itunes movies, as I would think apple TV would obviously use apple current formats.

    What format is needed, what is the actual real software to do the job?

    The stupid thing I don't understand, is that by law you are allowed to make one backup of your purchase, however; like Disney, they put this encryption onto it so you can't just make that backup due to piracy issues. We will be buying all our new purchases in digital format via itunes, but at present we still want to convert our current collection over before they go into storage. No doubt we may also still find the odd bargain DVD compared to online prices for them...
  2. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    I'm not a mac expert by far but I do exactly what you are hoping to achieve with Win
    If you don't mind two stepping it simply run something like anydvd or a mac equivalent and a dvd copy software to rip the actual architecture of the disc (sans encryption) which you then can convert to mp4 container with h.264 ( I believe that's what apple tv uses and you can convert with adobe media encoder or you can simply play from the video_ts files.
    I recommend against buying video from apple but that's preference ( used dvd's are a great legal way to obtain your legit copyable media ;-) )

    Maybe making a VMware/parallels virtual appliance running windows would allow you a place on your mac to use software intended for windows which I can actually help you with (anydvd isn't for mac but I can say I bought this YEARS ago and it has never let me down and most of the good tools for mac involving video in my experience require a lot of knowledge pertaining to the tech aspect of video manipulation where as there is a lot of tools with presets that should be just fine for your purposes. PM me if you would like to see what I'm talking about in action, just download teamviewer first and I can show you the process I use though I can't make that public as showing you will display the directory structure of my computer which I don't want (can't) aired publicly.
  3. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    I do have win7 systems at present and we are running win7 on the macs due to my wife's requirements for MYOB, which needs both OS, but I would prefer mac method if possible as I want to progressively shift away from PC and windows, not continue to rely upon it.
  4. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    I hear that about relying on an OS, I would have switched to nix only years ago if the adobes and autodesks of the world made their software compatible for Linux.
    MYOB is one of the most simple and clever names I've seen as far as branding ever btw.

    I wonder if I can test with a virtual instance of OSX in parallels or vmware using a bunch of methods to find what works best for a mac...
    are you dual booting or running a virtualized environment ( If I am going to take the time to test I'm going to do it right and don't want to return a false positive so I might as well duplicate your environment)

    The reason I suggested Win7 was it runs adobe media encoder which has an awesome settings for 720 and SD appleTV preset which you can load and customize to suit your needs better if you like. I used to use it to recode videos that I have already ripped to an Iphone friendly format but now I just run a video server from one of my pc that has on the fly encoding so I can watch all formats now minus matroska which apparently all my encoder software titles hate.

    If you have a lot of videos to convert you will want a software that has definable presets and simple quick actions. It takes a long time to convert from videots to a digital file in a container so you'll want to spend as little time as possible setting up the conversions (this is assuming your doing this for your home entertainment purposes and you want to spend time watching and not make a project out of recodes.) Not to ride adobes digital dingus but the way it's queue system works is the set it and forget it method that works great if you want to throw a bunch of files in the list and come back later to find them done.

    If you are dead set on mac and don't have the need to go over SD quality you can get something like this and just plug your regular old dvd player into it and capture as it plays. A rip and recode most of the time takes as long or longer ( pending the computer your using ) than recording a decoded stream.

    I used to use the intensity pro plus an unnamed hdcp decrypt-er to capture the stream from hdmi which is encrypted and cant be captured natively ( for capturing modded matches on halo3 and other things on xbox360 )

    The first works on mac only, the second on almost all OS's

    As far as software only goes.. ripping from the disk directly to conversion-blah , I from personal experience have found that the encode comes out better running a conversion from HDD to HDD after ripping the video ts files rather than as one big process. Also get an external disc drive, you will more than likely burn out your drive ripping if you have a lot of movies to do.

    Let me know the setup of your OS installations and some minimal specs of the machine you will be using to recode and Ill see if I can't mimic it and find a working solution for you.
    Anthony Parsons likes this.
  5. Reeve of Shinra

    Reeve of Shinra Well-Known Member

    Hi Anthony,

    I did a bit of research on this myself... and here is the easiest way I found.

    Step 1: You will need a program to rip the DVD to your computer (like an iso file).

    I use, and highly recommend, Anydvd from Slysoft. They update it constantly to handle new protection schemes. I believe its windows only so you will need to run it in a virtualized windows enviroment or find a MAC equivelent. Try searching the handbrake forums for recommendations.

    Step 2: Convert the ripped dvd to mp4.

    There are a lot of file container types out there (mp4, mkv, etc) and each has its merits. The AppleTV (ipad, touch, etc) however only supports the MP4 file container so your choice here is easy. The mp4 file format is also supported by other media extenders like popcorn hour but for your setup, the new appletv at $99 is hard to beat.

    I tried a few tools and the best one I found for converting to MP4 is Handbrake. Use the high profile preset for higher quality / good file sizes but check the handbrake forums to see if they recommend a different preset for Disney animated movies.If not, stick with the high profile preset.

    Step 3: Add cover art and meta data

    I am using metax which is an awesome program for quickly editing the meta data on an mp4 file and adding artwork and move details. Usually you can download one already made by someone else which you can then tweak if you feel the need. It runs on windows, not sure about MAC.

    Lastly you may be interested in this topic which is a MAC guide for automating the entire process.
    Anthony Parsons and EQnoble like this.
  6. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    Thanks very much to you both... I will go looking and asking lots of questions from this. Very much appreciated.

    EQ... yes, it is for our home collection. I think it is only around 400 DVD's these days, as we did get rid of some a few years ago in our last move... a big garage sale, though have also bought some since then. We only have the one imac at present... as it was our first one for my wife to use with a few clients who use mac with MYOB... and since getting it, we decided to shift to all mac. It does have win7 via bootcamp at present, though I am going to put vmware onto it, as whilst I have parallels on my system, it was painful to setup... which all responses thus far have leaned towards vmware as the better solution to run mac with win7. That mac is about a month old... that new, has the i3 processor in it... 512 3D, 4gb RAM.

    Reeve... absolutely, I find Apple TV to be an ideal solution. In two years time our new apartment we have purchased will be ready, hence why we are progressively shifting away from our current house setup with servers, multimedia wired into the house, etc... to more friendly methods that are going to suit apartment living. Whilst there are many methods available, we also find it hard to beat a simple Apple TV box at each TV... small and discreet, wireless, allowing us to stream all our audio and video around the apartment with ease. Whilst the apartment is all plastered, we can't just go and start rewiring the place without cutting routes into the plaster, then have to get a plasterer and painter in to fix all the new work... kind off defeats things I think... so wireless will be perfect for us in the apartment.

    We couldn't use apple TV right now, because we have everything mounted externally in the garage then wired through the house, so we have that very clean look with just a TV on the wall and all equipment is centrally located and fed to each TV. Audio the same... only speakers are seen to a minimalist view with all receivers external in one cabinet. Foxtel, etc... all the same. Whilst we can't achieve that type of setup in an apartment, we plan to use something like this http://meliconi.com.au at each TV, so all cables are still hidden, keeps things trendy and minimalist. Apple TV box on the shelf would be a blip.

    A lot of learning by the looks of things...
  7. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    So if I have this correct, I can use http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/videorecorder/ which then plays a decrypted version directly into the computer for digital storage, without having to crack disney decryption or such, or worry about poor quality copies?

    Alternatively, I can use a software that rips it from the DVD to a digital file, that decrypts it and either converts it into mp4 format or the standard folders, then convert it to mp4?

    I take it mp4 doesn't limit the resolution at all, as I want full resolution to play around the house, which screen sizes vary up to 50", though the same file would play on my iphone or mac... is this correct? I would hate to lose any noticeable quality when viewing by converting something like Avatar over... We don't use blu-ray at all... so its all just DVD.
  8. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    If you have a licensed copy of any dvd and a dvd player with component output(Component output as far as I know can't be encrypted) this will capture using the included software the dvd's native resolution and viola you have a clean 1:1 for you digital copy or in your case there is an optimized apple tv setting.

    Yes you would rip the dvd using something like anydvd which is sort of a daemon that reads all encryption and region information (along with a bunch of other things) and lifts them so any software running after it, be it a player or a recording software like "oneclick" which is a simple easy to use title that lets you easily change what your ripping and how. Once that step is done, you have a region free dvd structure with either the full disc copied or the chapters or what ever you want to be included in your new source files. You then take those and encode them with what ever codec would be appropriate in your case most likely h.264/mp4 as you are using appletv as your media epicenter. This method offers more freedom but realistically it's a lot more work and you have to find your formula that works for you. This method is only optimal if your collection will become a center-point of multiple pc's and can utilize all native formats (pc players can play a ripped disc in video_ts which is like an iso for movies so you will maintain the original format and menu and then the freedom to recode from there)There is many applications that this setup can be used for as file format is a big thing when it comes to playback and compatible devices.

    If your collection is going to get big your going to need a big pc case or a large JBOD storage tower or similar and some tb's of space as video, 720p and > in particular takes up space and component handles up to 720p so if you were to (assuming you got either the blackmagic or the disc decrypter/rip and recode method) backup blu-ray discs with a blu-ray player outputting 720 to component and encode them @ 720p, you would soon and quickly see the used disk space numbers rise. If you will only be ripping standard definition ( SD ) 2 terabytes like you said you had or were getting earlier would be fine.

    Well different iphones different resolution maxes, but I will say on both iphone3g and iphone4 mp4's work great though the largest resolution (or have encoded for since now I use a media server that converts video on the fly optimized for streaming to iphone.) I have played on them is 640X370. Safest route for you,.. I would have to take a gander at YES go with mp4 as natively the only files that ever worked with 100% consistency for me on the iphone were mp4 and m4v and mp4 can run at quite a high resolution though apple tv restricts content to 720p and in contrast 1080p is like double the pixels so I would consider an alternative like an HTPC or a barebones pc with some HDD space if your trying to go anything higher than 720. I recently did another solution like this for my mother for under $80 and it receives and outputs 1080p outputs hdmi inputs wifi, multiple usb, internal storage and is the size of a stack of coasters. I'm not an apple guy so I can't say for sure but I'd be willing to bet you could do the same thing I do with a PC with your mac other than customize the shell for appearance reasons.

    Sorry if I'm incoherent at this point i'm very tired i will probably end up picking this up tomorrow
  9. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    Yer, I figure this is the optimal solution to use the Apple time machine 2TB systems: http://www.apple.com/au/timecapsule/specs.html as I can use one, two, etc for video storage at AUD$650 each vs. going back to the more expensive server storage solutions. This gives me server grade HD space with direct wireless connectivity to the specific box, so whilst one box is used for business purposes, personal files, etc... the other can be used for video, so if a TV is streaming between the Apple TV box and Time capsule, it doesn't interfere with the other storage... as each uniquely has full wireless connectivity... so no bottlenecks with getting data of the storage or pauses whilst watching a movie and someone else is saving data, etc.

    I do need to talk with the Apple geeks a bit more about it all... but I will begin looking at the ripping process now and see what works best.
  10. Reeve of Shinra

    Reeve of Shinra Well-Known Member

    That black magic thing looks great but its too complicated for what you want and you still have to convert it to mp4 to play on appletv.

    DVD's use MPEG 2 compression which is a "lossy" format.
    MP4's use either h.264/x.264 which is based around the MPEG 4 compression standard and its also a "lossy" format.
    Going from one lossy format to another lossy format is going to increase the amount of "loss" == using dvd as your source is an issue period.

    That being said, I have a 61" tv and don't see any real issues with the method I described. If you have older ipod's, you may need to use the AppleTV preset with some tweaks I can point you towards but I have zero problems with the quality.

    What you "might" have an issue with is streaming... Wireless N is fast but ethernet is better if you can do it.
  11. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    Lovely... that mp4 sounds spot on the money. I think I will go that type of method, being to use a software to rip them onto the hard drive and either convert over or rip and convert in one process. Then like you say, add in the description and artwork.

    As long as the outcome is a high quality copy that can be viewed on up to 50" - 55", as that is the biggest we pretty much buy.
  12. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    Amazing things one finds out... iSkysoft, wondershare and Aimersoft DVD ripper are all the same product... being they all use the same engine and code, only the UI has been changed and marketed under three names.
  13. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    that is incorrect.. this would be the easiest way as it live encodes to the respected format you need for apple tv with one click. This would be assuming you don't want to take the time to do it the respectable way.


    MP4 doesn't mean loss, we're not talking avi here and dvd as a source is not an issue it's a necessity to Anthony P according to his first post. You have a lot of compression / bitrate settings that you can play with and yeah if you use something that is interlacing you will have loss. You must observe the space to quality tradeoff.

    Anthony, I recommend reading up on MPEG-2 and video compression in general before you make a decision as it's very clear immediately that everyone is on a different page.
  14. Reeve of Shinra

    Reeve of Shinra Well-Known Member

    The problem with the Black Magic device is

    a) You actually have to play each and every movie for the entire duration in order to capture it on the computer where as using a program like anydvd (or its equivalent) can create a perfect copy on your PC in under 15 minutes. 400 dvd's x 1.5 hours each = 600 hours of re-watching dvd's at a minimum. That does not sound efficient to me.

    b) I don't see how such a device would support multiple audio tracks. At a minimum, I want to keep the english stereo track and the english 5.1 surround track. Stereo for use my portable devices or the kids room and 5.1 in the living room where I have my 5.1 stereo.

    From the wiki article you linked to:
    Most video compression is lossy — it operates on the premise that much of the data present before compression is not necessary for achieving good perceptual quality.

    Which is exactly what I said -- MPEG2 is a lossy format. MPEG4 is also a lossy format. If you go from one to the other, you are in effect enhancing that loss ... its just the nature of the beast and something we all have to live with as we will never have the chance to hold the uncompressed masters. If you want absolutely no loss, you would have to use a non-apple device to watch the ripped DVD on your PC. Nothing wrong with that option but i prefer to have the extra compatability mp4 offers. You may also notice that I said that I use the Handbrake High Profile and some tweaked AppleTV settings using DVD as the source and I have no issues when watching movies on my 61" tv.

  15. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    Yer... doing lots of reading, and as stated, even then everyone seems to have different opinions, different software, methods, etc.

    I made a phone call to this video guru who gave me initial ideas, and he said in essence everyone is kind off right from what I have read, in that it is rare that any one method will correctly copy every type of movie and encryption without issue, which is why he uses several methods. Whilst one will do a majority, he said you will get times that your main software will not crap a specific Disney DVD, and you will have to use another one just for that DVD alone.

    I asked some questions to some software providers who state their software cracks "most" Disney encryption, even the latest, however; they where honest and did say that there are some specific DVD's that their software just will not crack or will not guarantee, due to extra issues with the DVD encryption itself that they simply cannot master, ie. whilst winxdvd will burn Alice In Wonderland, Avatar, etc... it won't burn Shrek Forever After, How To Train Your Dragon or IronMan 2. They said it can be nothing more than your specific DVD player, it can be the software, the encryption... they said sometimes its nothing more than a matter of trying different combinations for a few specific titles, though most will easily decrypt and transfer to digital format.

    I did a heap of research, and winxdvd are mac, so I am giving it a shot first to see how it goes.

    I test a test last night on Dear John, in full 720p and it took about 3hrs vs. if I scale it down one level to 640 then it takes about 20 minutes. Not worried about the time it takes, more the quality... and full 720p still comes in at around 1.3gb converted, which is nice. I am trying to get the resolution right, as for example, Dear John is recorded in 720x576 and 1200x720 is obviously not the same resolution... so I am playing with trying to get those things right.

    I am going to try above options as well as others, and see what comes out best... fingers and toes crossed, as this is a headache.
  16. Reeve of Shinra

    Reeve of Shinra Well-Known Member

    Anthony -- don't try to upscale the DVD resolution when converting it to mp4. You end up wasting time and disk space. Your appletv will do a great job upconverting on the fly.
  17. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    So if the DVD says it comes in 720 x 576, the apple tv conversion doesn't have that size, though I can use straight mp4 method using custom set settings... should I just scale it so it outputs exactly as the DVD states?

    What is the normal size of an mp4 DVD?
  18. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    I also just found out that this mac winxdvd is built upon the handbrake conversion... except adds in the latest decryption available for all major markets. It pisses me off that its legal to make a backup under Australian law of your DVD purchase, though they encrypt it so you can't... or atleast make it harder than it need be. Very annoying.
  19. Reeve of Shinra

    Reeve of Shinra Well-Known Member

    My experience is with handbrake, not winxdvd, so take this with a grain of salt... but in handbrake, when I open the dvd iso file, Handbrake will automatically set the height and width to match that of the movie. I have not found a need to mess with that setting.

    If winxdvd can create an iso image for you on your computer, try handbrake for a bit to see about the best settings and then see how you can map that back to the way winxdvd works.

    On the newer ipad / iphone 3gs & 4 / appletv take 2 / etc -- you can use the high profile option.

    If you need to support an older touch or 1st gen appletv, you can use this preset which works great.

    Courtesy fo Dynaflash:

  20. Reeve of Shinra

    Reeve of Shinra Well-Known Member

    I might try this suggestion tonight and see how it looks:

    You could use custom anamorphic to encode 2.35:1 and similar movies to the full 1280x720 resolution (setting the pixel aspect ratio to preserve the correct display dimensions), rather than the usual 1820x544 or 1280x528.

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